Maurice Bernier, second from left, with his Port Alberni team that earned their way to the nationals last year, will be the oldest Special Olympic athlete at the 2020 BC Games in Fort St. John. (PHOTO COURTESY SPECIAL OLYMPICS)

Alberni bowler proves that age is just a number

Maurice Bernier will be the oldest athlete at the Special Olympics nationals in Thunder Bay

A Port Alberni five-pin bowler will be the oldest athlete competing at the Special Olympics nationals this month.

At 74 years old, Port Alberni’s Maurice Bernier has been involved in Special Olympics for the past 25 years. From Feb. 25 to 29, he will be headed to Thunder Bay with his bowling team to compete in the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.

READ MORE: Two Port Alberni bowling teams headed to Special Olympics nationals

His Special Olympics Team BC bowling coach Debbie McCooey said that she can’t believe his age.

“He certainly does not act or appear to be 74 years old,” said McCooey in a press release. “He’s still pretty active and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down.”

Bernier credits his active lifestyle and “all the other young people” at Special Olympics for keeping him young at heart.

McCooey calls Bernier something of a father figure to his teammates.

“The older, more experienced athletes tend to take the younger ones under their wing and just give them a hand, make them feel included and welcome – and Maurice is very much that way,” said McCooey.

“He’s got a wonderful personality. He’s super social and very encouraging to all the other athletes on the team.”

McCooey often records Bernier at practice and uses the video to coach proper technique.

“He’s got a very good throw, a very smooth ball … he’s extending his arm like he’s supposed to, his technique is really good,” she said.

Bernier is proud to be a role model.

“If (other athletes) need help, I’m ready to help them all the time,” he said.

Thunder Bay will be his third National Games competition, so Bernier has also been offering advice to teammates competing at that level for the first time.

“When they tell me they’re nervous, I tell them, ‘Just pretend like you’re in Port Alberni, and bowl like you do there … you’ll do great,’” he said.

“I was scared and worried before when I started, I got over it and I bowled a lot better than I thought, so why worry? Just go and have fun.”

Bernier, of course, practices what he preaches: his goal for Thunder Bay is to simply do his best – and keep up with the younger athletes “and beat them if I can,” he added with a laugh.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictPort AlberniSpecial Olympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Maurice, left, high fives his teammate. (PHOTO COURTESY SPECIAL OLYMPICS)

Just Posted

Alberni stores lend a hand to Girl Guides by selling cookies

Local store owners come forward to sell cookies when in-person sales halted over COVID-19

City of Port Alberni answers questions about COVID-19

Radio show will feature Mayor Sharie Minions and Dr. Paul Hasselback

Deadline passes for ‘unattractive’ Port Alberni building

Squash and Billiards Club on Third Avenue has been under construction for several years

Teachers in Port Alberni show the love for their students

Virtual message meant to give families hope in uncertain times

From inside the ER: B.C. doctor tells it like it is from the frontlines of COVID-19

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

COVID-19: Vancouver Islander celebrates 90th birthday with Model T ride as neighbours line streets

WATCH: Pandemic ruined plans for a party, so Francesca Dawe’s friends got creative

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Most Read